Hidden in the depths of the Argentine jungle, secret Nazi bolthole for fleeing war criminals
By Amanda Williams for MailOnline and Allan Hall
A secret Nazi bolthole for fleeing war criminals has been found in a remote jungle area of Argentina.
The group of stone structures still hold piles of German coins from the late 1930s, porcelain bearing the ‘Made in Germany’ stamp, and Nazi insignia is scrawled across the walls.
Daniel Schavelzon, from the University of Buenos Aires, led a team which spent months exploring the site in the Teyu Cuare provincial park, in the Misiones region of northern Argentina.
The hideaway has been uncovered in a remote jungle in the Misiones region of northern Argentina
South America has had a long and unusual relationship with the Nazis who escaped there in droves after the Second World War. Nazis fled to Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia.
Argentina was earmarked as a prime haven for the Third Reich’s elite – such as Auschwitz medic Dr Josef Mengele and Holocaust organiser Adolf Eichmann – to get to when Nazism collapsed in 1945.
Locals believe that a house in the forest belonged to Hitler’s right-hand man Martin Bormann, but Mr Schavelzon dismissed this as ‘an urban myth’.
Instead, archaeologists suspect that the ruins of three buildings in the Teyu Cuare park in the north of the country were part of a Nazi hideout built by supporters while the war in Europe still raged, the Clarin newspaper reported.
The cluster of three buildings are obscured from view by thick undergrowth and are only accessible with a machete.
Waring Nazi insignia and dated from 1938 were found amid the rubble
‘Apparently, halfway through the Second World War, the Nazis had a secret project of building shelters for top leaders in the event of defeat inaccessible sites, in the middle of deserts, in the mountains, on a cliff or in the middle of the jungle like this,’ said archaeologist Mr Schavelzon.
The researchers believe, however, that, the Nazis never ended up using the hideout.
By the time they landed, with Europe in ruins, they had smuggled out enough gold and money to live comfortable lives under the radar in cities or on ranches out on the sprawling pampas.
The group of stone structures still hold piles of German coins from the late 1930s
The crockery still bears the ‘Made in Germany’ stamp. At least 180 Nazi war criminals were known to have fled to Argentina
Locals believe that a house in the forest belonged to Hitler’s right-hand man Martin Bormann, but Daniel Schavelzon, from the University of Buenos Aires, dismissed this as ‘an urban myth’
German coins from the years 1938 to 1941 and Meissen porcelain are being sent back to Buenos Aires for further examination.
‘There seems to be no other explanation, other than that these structures were meant to serve as a hide out for Nazis, because it would have been expensive to build them in such an inaccessible place,’ said Schavelzon.
Eichmann, who was responsible for getting millions of Jewish victims on board trains to take them to extermination camps in Nazi occupied Poland, was found living in a Buenos Aires suburb and kidnapped by Israeli Mossad commandos in 1961.
Put on trial in Israel for war crimes, he was hanged in May the following year.
In 2012 secret files revealed that 9,000 Nazi war criminals fled to South America after the Second World War, it has been revealed for the first time.
After receiving tip-offs, German prosecutors were granted access to secret files in Brazil and Chile that confirmed the true number of Third Reich immigrants.
According to the documents, an estimated 9,000 war criminals escaped to South America, including Croatians, Ukrainians, Russians and other western Europeans who aided the Nazi murder machine.
Most, perhaps as many as 5,000, went to Argentina; between 1,500 and 2,000 are thought to have made it to Brazil; around 500 to 1,000 to Chile; and the rest to Paraguay and Uruguay.
These numbers do not include several hundred more who fled to the safety of right-wing regimes in the Middle East.
Previous estimates as to how many Nazis fled to South America have varied wildly from 5,000 to 300,000.
THE LEADING NAZIS WHO FLED TO SOUTH AMERICA
Adolf Eichmann hid under the alias of Ricardo Klement in Argentina as early as 1952.
He raised his family and worked in a car plant.
During the war, Eichmann was the right-hand-man to SS chief Heinrich Himmler in the Third Reich – who was responsible for the trains that carried millions to their deaths at extermination camps in Nazi occupied Poland.
Eichmann was hanged in Israel in 1962.
Josef Mengele was known for his horrific genetic experiments in concentration camps including the dissection of live babies and injecting dye into the eyes of prisoners.
He hid out in Argentina until his death in 1979.
Several others escaped to Chile. Walter Rauff a high-ranking SS officer who invented the ‘Death Trucks’ – with which 500,000 prisoners were murdered with lethal gas at Auschwitz – arrived in South America in 1950.
He spent a short amount of time in jail and died in Santiago in 1984.
Paul Schaeffer began his career in the Hitler Youth before rising through the ranks and arrived in Chile in 1960.
He was a known paedophile but was not locked up by Chilean authorities until 1996. He died in 2010.
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